New Delhi: Members of India’s medical fraternity on Thursday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reject the “environmental release" application for the genetically modified (GM) mustard crop, saying that the country should not be forced to face the risks and dangers associated with the crop.

“GM mustard is a danger for cultivators, agricultural workers as well as consumers. On the other hand, there are no good reasons that can be seen so far as to why this GM mustard is needed, or what kind of benefits it will offer. There is absolutely no evidence about this. It is unclear why the country should be taking this dangerous step of allowing GM mustard to be cultivated in India," Dr. Vallabhbhai Kathiria, former Union minister of state for health and family welfare and chairman of Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board of the Gujarat government, said in a letter to the Prime Minister on Thursday.

“Around the world, only three countries have allowed GM canola/rapeseed to be grown on their lands. A vast majority of other countries do not opt for GM hybrids, and their yields are better. This includes China too," the letter said.

The letter was endorsed by 34 individuals and medical experts including former health minister Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, retired vice-chancellor of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Karnataka Dr. B.M. Hegde, former director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Delhi) Dr. Lalit Nath, vice-chancellor of Adesh (Medical) University (Bathinda) Dr. G.P.I. Singh, Medical Council of India member Dr. H.N. Ravindra, former Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Gujarat Dr. Kanubhai Kalsaria and others.